What Paris’s Couture Collections Say About Fashion in 2022

Paris, the fashion capital of the world, is wrapping up one of its most glamorous weeks of the year: the couture season. The Paris Fashion Week subset, which involves a curated group of designers selected by the prestigious French Fédéracion de la Haute Couture et de la Mode (FHCM), presents the collections to higher-end customers, with looks ordered as tailored and handmade – tailored exactly to the wearer and often sold as exclusive.

Couture has always been a very exclusive affair, from the heyday of Christian Dior’s “New Look” in 1947 to the experimental excess of fashion in the 1980s and early 1990s (including the collections of the late Thierry Mugler, whose fall 1995 and 20 couture collection anniversary celebration was hailed by the industry as one of the most important runways in fashion history.)

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Both social media and the appearance of some front row celebrities have opened up the world of couture to the public, giving high fashion the ability to descend even faster through the industry ecosystem. Looks may still be cost prohibitive for most, but here are five ways this season’s Spring 22 couture collections could influence fashion for the rest of 2022.

Life is surreal, and so is fashion now

The undercurrent of uncertainty that permeated all sectors (and the stock market) during the Omicron wave also spread to fashion, where designers looked at the world from a slightly dystopian, but not necessarily pessimistic, point of view. At Viktor & Rolf, the designers took their usual shock approach and gave it a more creepy tone, with ear-level dresses and evening gowns with the models who wore them. Meanwhile, at Schiaparelli, creative director Daniel Roseberry continues to use jewelry and hardware to show us that the world is no longer what it seems, in a fascinating way.

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A “surreal shoulder” in the spring ’22 fashion of Viktor & Rolf. – Credits: Courtesy of Viktor & Rolf

Courtesy of Viktor & Rolf

Fashion is no longer just for women

Menswear and womenswear is merging more than ever in modern times and the latest collections are proving that men can live the couture fantasy too, be it with a jeweled cape, outerwear with a twist or a unisex platform brogue. For the third time, Valentino presented its couture collection with a masculine component, offering luxurious updates on classic tailoring, such as sequined trousers with a cashmere wool jacket or a fresh white shirt with matching white sneakers. At Azzaro, Creative Director Olivier Theyskens showed a range of satin and all-sequin suits for both men and women, a nod to the brand’s growing menswear business and a true sign of the times.

A sequined men's suit, which was shown with a sequined women's suit matching Azzaro spring '22 couture.  - Credits: Courtesy of Azzaro

A sequined men’s suit, which was shown with a sequined women’s suit matching Azzaro spring ’22 couture. – Credits: Courtesy of Azzaro

Courtesy of Azzaro

The next party shoe will likely have sequins

Sequins may be an evergreen piece for the true fashion magpie, but for everyone else, it has its own cycle of trends. Embellishment could make a big comeback in 2022, though, and not just on the occasional mini dress or top to go out. At Alexandre Vauthier’s spring ’22 couture collection, Giuseppe Zanotti’s footwear capsule (part of an ongoing partnership started last year for the French couturier’s spring ’21 collection) was heavy on sequins, feathers and crystal accents, indicating a plus-is-more prospects on the outgoing heel for 2022.

Giuseppe Zanotti's Bejeweled boots on Alexandre Vauthier's spring '22 couture catwalk.  - Credits: Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

Bejeweled boots by Giuseppe Zanotti on the catwalk at Alexandre Vauthier spring ’22 couture. – Credits: Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

Sequined boots by Giuseppe Zanotti to combine with a sequined look from Alexandre Vauthier's spring '22 couture.  - Credits: Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

Sequined boots by Giuseppe Zanotti to combine with a sequined look from Alexandre Vauthier’s spring ’22 couture. – Credits: Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

Courtesy of Alexandre Vauthier

We may be wearing more white this summer

The sensational color trend of the spring ’22 couture season is white. It could be seen on the runway at Dior, in a cream shade on a collarless, foot-length monastic coat with matching baggy pants, or as a mini dress with a deep décolleté from Valentino. After a few years of uncertainty – and a somewhat premature push into the new “Roaring Twenties”, perhaps a palate cleanser is just the thing for 2022.

Christian Dior Spring '22 Fashionable Clean Lines.  - Credits: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Christian Dior Spring ’22 Fashionable Clean Lines. – Credits: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Courtesy of Christian Dior

The riding boot could soon make a comeback

As the fashion trends of the year 2000 roll back, key footwear styles like the thong heel and square toe. The ubiquitous mid-2000s riding boot may be just around the corner. Chanel took the theme literally, opening its spring ’22 couture show with Charlotte Casiraghi on a real live horse, wearing a black tweed suit with a pair of leather riding boots. Fashion insiders may have pointed to a distinct tribute to Hermès right now, but Chanel may simply be aiming for a broader trend for footwear next year.

Casiraghi on the runway at Chanel's spring '22 couture in a tweed look with leather riding boots.  - Credit: Courtesy of Chanel

Casiraghi on the runway at Chanel’s spring ’22 couture in a tweed look with leather riding boots. – Credit: Courtesy of Chanel

Courtesy of Chanel

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